The Corcovado Foundation Sea Turtle Conservation Program has never been busier. After seven years of protecting the turtles working alongside the local community, and raising awareness of the need to conserve the Osa Peninsula, the program is receiving more volunteers than ever. More members of the community have become involved with the program too, opening their doors to house the volunteers in ‘homestays’ in the village. The initiative has forged beautiful friendships and offers a wonderful vehicle for cultural exchange, with most volunteers ranking the homestay experience as the highlight of their trip to Costa Rica. Moreover, it has succeeded in generating extra income for locals through the sustainable use of their sea turtles, and has committed many more families to the aims of the program.
July marks the beginning of the nesting season for the Olive Ridley turtle in Costa Rica and so far the program has found three turtles in the last few nights! The construction of the hatchery has also been completed, with space for up to 120 nests, and the vigilance tower has undergone a complete restoration. Volunteers are currently working hard patrolling the beaches at night, and placing reference posts and removing trash during the day. In addition volunteers have been busy at the camp constructing and decorating a new office for the program, and will soon embark on building a new hydroponic vegetable patch at the camp, to try their hand at some sustainable agriculture. Other community project work has included building a new recycling sorting center and painting the Foundation’s education center in Drake Bay (Agujitas).
Training has begun to give local Patrol Leaders a refresher course ready to begin paid night patrols and shifts in the hatchery, and workshops will soon start to provide basic training to all members of the local conservationist association (ACOTPRO). Since 2013 will be the last season where the Foundation will be assisting ACOTPRO with the turtle program in Drake Bay, a series of workshops will begin shortly to link the association up with volunteer networks and improve their website, so that they can start to attract their own volunteers ready for 2014 and beyond.
All of the work so far this year was only made possible by generous donations made by local businesses, not-for-profit institutions, and concerned individuals like yourselves. Unfortunately the ongoing financial crisis has added extra pressure on donors in recent times, and the Foundation’s Environmental Education program in Drake Bay – which has been running for ten years – now faces closure unless extra funds can be found. This program encompasses the most important work that the Foundation does and it will have the biggest impact of all of its activities in the long run. Thanks to the free education that this program has integrated into the curriculum of local schools, a new generation of locals will grow up to take controls of local projects and tourism enterprises and see that they develop in a sustainable way, in harmony with the precious environment of the Osa Peninsula.
Please dig deep and give whatever you can to the program this season, and help us to permit the sustainable development of Drake Bay and protect its unique wildlife for future generations to enjoy.
The turtles and the community in Drake Bay thank you for your wonderful generosity!
Dr Rob JamesCoordinator of Sea Turtle Conservation ProgramCorcovado FoundationOsa Peninsula, Costa RicaEmail: email@example.comWeb: www.corcovadofoundation.org